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Fabio Capello can expect a backlash if the axe falls on England captain Rio Ferdinand

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17 Mar 2011 13:22:50

Fabio Capello can expect a backlash if the axe falls on England captain Rio Ferdinand

If John Terry is such a fine England skipper, he would already be able to reflect on two major tournaments when he led his country into sporting battle. But the team failed to qualify for one and he was stripped of the captaincy before the other. History would therefore suggest he is not exactly Bobby Moore. Regime change: Rio Ferdinand replaced John Terry as England captain And let us just remind ourselves why, in the space of a 12-minute meeting inside Fabio Capello's office at Wembley, he did lose the armband last year. It was not just because Terry betrayed the trust of a friend and team-mate who then retired from international football in disgust. Capello has a fairly relaxed attitude towards matters of the heart, having encountered such issues in dressing rooms during his time in club management. He accepts that these things can happen. No, it was because the Vanessa Perroncel affair was just one of a number of damaging headlines. There was the fact that Terry had enlisted the services of a marketing agency in trying to cash in on his status in World Cup year. The fact, as this newspaper revealed, that the private Wembley box Terry was allowed to rent at a discounted price was being offered on the black market. Terry had become a liability and Capello realised that it could not continue. Enough was enough. Shocker: How Sportsmail revealed Fabio Capello's plot on Saturday morning Taking the decision to discipline the Chelsea defender and pass the armband to Rio Ferdinand is still one of the highlights of Capello's tenure as England manager. He appeared strong and decisive. Some would argue that he appears just as strong and decisive now. It would be a bold move to reinstate Terry as captain and evidence that the manager is prepared to fly in the face of public opinion for what is best for his team. But the tone of certain conversations that took place on Sunday suggested otherwise. Having had it in mind to bring Terry back on a permanent basis - and so axe the injury-troubled Ferdinand as skipper - Capello was now said to be looking at it as more of a temporary measure. There was a fair amount of tap-dancing going on, but Ferdinand and members of the media were told on Sunday that it would only be for the Wales game a week on Saturday and only if Ferdinand was not fit. In wanting to reinstate Terry, Capello has finally recognised the importance of the captain in the England team. But he has failed to realise exactly what the armband represents in this country, and the fact that the England captain should be someone who commands respect, behaves correctly and can shoulder the responsibility of being a role model. People do deserve a second chance and Terry is not alone as an England captain who has run into trouble. Tony Adams led his country with distinction after doing time for drink-driving earlier in his career. But Terry is different because he abused the position and, during his time as captain, proved himself a serial offender. If Terry is asked to lead his team out at the Millennium Stadium - and then remains in the role - Capello should be prepared for a response in the England dressing room. Having been told one thing on Sunday, Ferdinand will be disgusted if the Italian now does the opposite and publicly declares that Terry is the best man to lead his team in Cardiff and beyond. Having been asked to captain the team in the absence of Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard in Denmark last month, Frank Lampard is unlikely to be too happy that he was deemed to have failed his audition. Gerrard already knew he was not Capello's first choice but he would not be too impressed either, especially when Terry's misguided attempt to undermine Capello during last summer's World Cup also undermined the Liverpool midfielder, who had stepped up to captain the team after injury forced Ferdinand to sit out the tournament. Big mistake: Terry during the fateful press conference at last year's World Cup that angered his manager Many of the England players would consider it particularly harsh treatment of Ferdinand while also worrying if Terry's sizeable ego would become unmanageable. That Capello has forgiven Terry for what he called 'a very big mistake' in South Africa does raise the question of whether we should forgive him too. When he contacted this newspaper the day after giving that astonishing performance in the press conference in Rustenburg, he did show genuine remorse. 'I'm at rock bottom,' he said. 'And I'm prepared to listen to any advice.' There was an invitation to meet for lunch and during that lunch he would have been encouraged to find a management team that would navigate him away from marketing men who consider it appropriate to tout him around for business. But the phone number changed and the lunch never happened, leaving this observer to wonder just how sincere he really was during what was an extremely candid conversation. Terry is a great centre half and a good captain, and behind that combative facade there might just be a decent human being as well. But the evidence would suggest that he has been corrupted by fame and horribly indulged by those around him. Returning the England armband would only indulge him even more. He should not be England captain again. Not even on a temporary basis. Not even if it means giving it to Ashley Cole.  MARTIN SAMUEL: Behind closed doors John Terry has proved he is England's natural leaderEXCLUSIVE: Capello tells FA he wants Terry back as England captainMartin Samuel: It was right to demote Terry... and now right to give it backReds skipper Gerrard out for a month and will miss England clash with Wales  Explore more:People: John Terry, Bobby Moore, Fabio Capello, Tony Adams, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard Places: Cardiff, Liverpool, Denmark, United Kingdom, Wales, South Africa


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